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Sunday April 17, 2005 3:31 am

OurColony.net Xbox 2/360 Speculation


Posted by Oscar M. Cantu Categories: Internet, Video Games


OurColony.netThere has been a lot of buzz and controversy surrounding a new community based web site, OurColony.net. Many people believe this site to be the work of 4orty2wo Entertainment employed by Microsoft in a big Ad campaign to promote their Xbox 360 gaming console. Of course, Microsoft denies such allegations. Just what is OurColony.net all about? OurColony.net is an Alternate Reality Game where members are given riddles and puzzles in the form of challenges and encouraged to work as a team, or colony, to solve it. The team is then rewarded with points and some images of what seems to be Xbox 360 hardware and software. The question still remains, is this really an ad campaign, thus making the images earned on the website the real deal? Let’s take a look at the facts and theories.



COUNTDOWN TIMER Countdown Timer

When visiting OurColony.net a count down timer can be seen. This timer is not like other count down timer where it is updated in real time or includes a label. Up until last week, the count down did not seem to have any connection with the Xbox 360 since the timer would end on May 12 instead of the then announced May 16th unveiling. However, now the timer correlates exactly to the Xbox 360 unveiling since May 12th is the MTV special for Microsoft’s next generation gaming console.

XBOX 360 POWER BUTTON Xbox 2 Power Button

This image also appears on the main page before signing up or logging in. At first glance any Xbox owner will dismiss it as an image of the current power button. Take a closer look and you can see that the button is slightly different. The power button in the OurColony.net site has a green light outlining the power icon enclosed in a full circle and appears to be on a silver background rather than a gray one.

J ALLARD’S ANT SHIRT AT GDC J Allard At GDC

During the Game Developers Conference, Microsoft’s vice president J Allard showed off gamer profiles which will be a part of the next Xbox Live. When he showed off these gamer profiles, he showed his own profile which included a picture of himself in a green shirt with a very familiar white ant logo. (Click for Hi-Res image) The same logo used in OurColony.net. When Microsoft was asked about the image by GameSpot, they responded with, “J [Allard] is a gamer and there are a lot of gamers playing Ourcolony.net.” Seems like a decent response, until you check out the facts. That image was seen on March 9th and OurColony.net was launched on April 5th – almost a month after Allard was seen wearing that shirt.

SPHERE = 360° Sphere

When visiting the website’s main page, every image generated is inside a silver sphere that moves almost in a fluid like form. We all know a sphere has the property of 360°, another clue perhaps? Some report that the color of the Xbox 360 will be silver or white – both properties of this image.

XBOX 360 RUMORED DESIGN Ant Logo

According to GameIndustry.biz the Xbox 360 will be concave in shape. Meaning it will arch in towards the middle to form an ‘X’ shape. The shape can be thought of something like this: )(. Notice that the shape fits the description of concave in the middle, forms an ‘X’, and is able to stand upright. Now taking that into consideration, the OurColony.net logo has that same symbol on the body of the Ant. (Click to see Hi-Res image) Most people do not notice it since we are accustomed to seeing that symbol on insects such as spiders, (Spiderman).  If that is in fact the design of the next Xbox, the design is right under our nose. This is in addition to the pictures of a white controller that appeared last week on the site. The controller pictured seemed to be a redesign of the Controller S along with the rumored wireless interface.

There are more than enough hints on this colony that it is an ad campaign by 4orty2wo Entertainment and Microsoft so as to hype up the Xbox 360 – though Microsoft will not admit it. Another hint was given on April 16th challenge. This challenged ended up being a bar code which when de-coded was a phone number. After placing a call to that number a message was given - “Reset Reality, Message 512”. Let’s analyze this answer. “Hit Reset On Your Reality” is Microsoft’s tag line to their E3 Press briefing. (You can see it for yourself here). The second part of that recording says “Message 512”, 512 being May 12th - the day of the MTV Xbox 360° special.

For now, we can enjoy the challenges, think of more crazy theories, and enjoy the pictures of a sexy console. Be sure to join the Gear Live colony and enjoy the hunt for more clues.

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